Now there’s a lot to say about this phenomenal woman and in case you missed the article we did about her on Mothers’ Day, find it below.
All I can see, however, as regards what makes her part of this list is her resilience, her humility, her drive to be the best version f her she can be, and for being the best boss to work under in this country. Ask any MVA Fund employee and they’ll tell you.
So once again, I give you MVA Fund CEO, Rosalia Martins-Hausiku as Hero #10. I hope she inspires you too…
Rosalia Martins-Hauisku is the current CEO of the Motor-Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund Namibia.
Behind the title and all its privileges, this 80s-born woman is phenomenal in every sense of the word.
Interviewing her left me in awe of how women like her do it. Reminded me of the Sarah-Jessica Parker movie, “I don’t how she does it”. But that question isn’t a big deal for her – as she puts it; “How do single working mothers do it?”
She is very simple, yet driven by ambition. That explains why at her age, she heads one of the very few best performing parastatals in Namibia. Rosalia is surprisingly soft-spoken and makes reference to God a lot! You’ve got to love that in a woman in her position.
It is not every day that you find bosses, especially women, who conduct opening prayers in their offices before each meeting.
But she does. And that’s phenomenal.
Brought up in Rundu, this strong-willed mother of two little boys aged 6 and 2 is super tenacious, which is a character trait she attributes to her upbringing.
“I finish what I start,” she says, adding that as much as she is strong-willed, she has learnt over the years to be more accommodating of other people’s takes in each and every decision she makes that affect not only her but those around her.
“In the corporate space, you have to chill a bit if you expect the desired results, or you would be immensely disappointed in the eventual turn-out. After all, I’m just as strong as my weakest link. You have to ask yourself; what kind of human resource would I like to leave behind when I move on?”
With a father who always pushed for perfection, Rosalia learnt at a young age to expect nothing less, even from herself.
“Jerry pushed us so hard. We underwent rigorous leadership training that would prepare us to take over his reigns. He would often alternate us in the CEO acting position whenever he was out of office, either on leave or out of the country. That toughened us up. I personally acted in the position enough times, although did not imagine myself being his successor.
“I was actually on maternity leave when the application process for the CEO position began. I’d thought of applying for it, but it was just one of those moments where you convince yourself that it’s not yet time to go for ‘more’. Believe it or not; I submitted my application at 11:59 pm on the closing date. I did not even expect to make it to the interview, but I did.
“Heck, I prepared for that interview like I’ve never done for anything in my life. There were probably five or six other potential candidates for the job, but I wasn’t worried. I knew I had an upper hand merely because I had had more than enough training to prepare me for this moment and there we were. I gave that interview my all!”
She enthusiastically recalls the goofy smile she had on her face when she walked out of the PricewaterhouseCoopers premises after the interview, thinking, “That was one hella interview and whatever happens from here henceforth should be according to Your will, dear God.”
“To date, I don’t know what the panel of judges were looking for, but I’m glad they found it in me.”
The rest, as they say, is history and she has since been focused on seizing every opportunity her career space provides.
But how does she manage to keep her head above water with mommy, career and marital responsibilities?
“God’s at the centre of it all,” she says calmly, adding; “I recently read about the little preacher’s daughter who one Saturday evening nagged her father to play with her while he was preparing for the Sunday morning sermon in their study. Dad was really busy trying to come up with something inspirational but it just wasn’t coming to him, especially not with his little girl nagging at his feet. So the guy took a map, tore it into pieces and asked her to tape it back into shape, promising to play with her if she did. He knew she wouldn’t ace it, because, well, how would she figure out how to put the map together! Surprisingly, after five minutes, the little girl returned to her father’s study with the map taped in perfect shape. The surprised father asked how she did it and she said, ‘there was an image of Jesus at the back of the map. I knew if I put Jesus in His place, everything would fall in its order’. And bam! There was the inspiration the man had been looking for all week – If you put Jesus in His rightful place, everything else falls in the right order!”
Besides God, Rosalia speaks highly of her unparalleled support system; “My husband supports me 120% and that gives me the motivation to keep pushing. I also have a nanny who is amazing with my kids. Due to my professional commitments, I don’t spend as much time as I would like with my little boys, but I squeeze in every juice I can get out of the little I get. As a result, they often tuck in later than most kids during school nights. I try to make it home before bath-time. It’s a special moment of most days for me, because it is the only time I let my hair down and just enjoy the joy of motherhood. I cherish that so much.”
Apart from her husband and nanny, Rosalia is constantly surrounded by those who help her make each day well spent, especially a great team of professionals at MVA Fund, 60% of whom are women. That gives her hope for MVA Fund’s future. “We have gone past the 50/50 men to women ratio and that’s commendable.”
MVA Fund’s financial year ends this month (May 2015) and Rosalia couldn’t be more excited about how good the institution’s books look, for they’ve come a very long way.
“When I took over, our yearly returns were at 45%. At present, it’s 85% everything and I couldn’t be more proud of the people I work with.”
As a working mom, there are weekends she doesn’t even see her kids, and as every mother in her position would tell you, she takes whatever she can get and seizes the day.
“My husband and I are currently preparing to take the kids for the Disney Ice Age experience in Johannesburg this June and I can’t wait, especially because such are the moments when all I am to the world and to my kids is simply, mom.”
But what would Rosalia be if she wasn’t chasing after corporate greatness? Stay-at-home mom, she says.
Who knew? “Well, I wouldn’t just be home doing nothing, you know. In life, it reaches a point when you’d rather make wealth for yourself than bust your back to make others’ dreams come true. And that’s what I’d do; become my own boss, so I can spend as much time as I’d like with my family.”
That said, family means the world to Rosalia who also loves the gym, being the only place she can have “me-time”.
“Yes, your job will provide you with the income to give your family a decent life, but who are you, really, without God’s mighty provision and a loving family? So no, my job doesn’t rule my life; God does and my family stands by me. Hierarchically, my life revolves around God, family, then work.
Is there any such thing as a perfect mom? “People ask me all the time how I do it, but I ask; how do single mothers do it? Seriously, single mothers are my heroes; enough said!
“Let me paint the picture here; last night, one of my sons refused to eat at mealtime, only to nag me for dinner as soon as I lay my hair down to read a book in bed. I don’t sleep beyond 7am over the weekends and yet I have a support system. Now how does a working single mom do it, say, without a nanny?”
As a mother, I asked, what would Rosalia do if her sons, 15 years from now, came home to announce; “Mom, I’m gay”. What would her reaction be?
“Eish, I’m not the kind of mom who would infringe on my kids’ rights to freedom of any sort, but I’m telling you now, I’d cross that bridge if ever I got to it. However, it wouldn’t change how I felt about my child. He would still be mommy’s boy and I’d do whatever I could to fully support his choices.”
After what seemed like a very short interview and one of the best I’ve conducted to date, I started packing my stuff up to bid my goodbyes before I asked Rosalia; ‘what message would you give to single mothers, especially those stuck in abusive relationships they can’t get out of?’
She simply broke down. I was astonished. Here was a woman in a position of power and who has it all going for her. What would move her so much, I wondered?
She said; “Kids should be protected. I weep for mothers and kids in such situations and all I can say is: Please do whatever you can to get you and your babies out of there. Protect your children’s innocence as long as you can. That’s all I can say. Being a very compassionate person, I realize that I cannot, however much I’d love to, help everyone in need. As such, my husband and I have established a program to help others in every way we can.
“Fact is; we live in a cruel world and there is often not much one can do to solve every needy person’s problems, but by the grace of God, each one of us should use the little we have to reach out to those who need it the most.”